Finding your why is the most important thing you can do for your success and happiness. Your purpose and passion will be driven by why you do what you do.
I use my whys to understand what I’m going to do and how I’m going to do it. I don’t just fly by the seat of my pants every day anymore. I used to wake up every morning ready to just float through the day. I had no real sense of purpose, other than I knew I wanted to try my best. I didn’t understand why I was spending every day working my butt off without really feeling like I was getting anywhere.
Then, I learned about the power of why. Now, I know, deep down in my core, why I’m waking up in the morning.
It’s time to learn what drives you to be your best.
Inspiration vs. Manipulation
Picture something with me for a second. You’re standing in the spaghetti sauce aisle at the grocery store. There’s about 25 different sauce brands to choose from. There’s also a plethora of flavor options. You’ve got garlic and herb, original, marinara, meaty, cheesy, and many others. What sauce do you pick? How do you know which one is the best one for your meal tonight?
Do you choose based on price? Incentives like buy one get one free? Maybe you pick the one that enters you in a drawing for a chance to win a trip to Disney World.
Next month when you go back to get more spaghetti sauce, are you going to have loyalty to the brand that you bought previously because they offered you some special deal or gimmick? If you’re like me then you probably won’t even remember what you picked up last time!
More often than not, it’ll end up being a decision based on your emotions rather than your logic, even if you don’t realize it.
We humans are more emotional than we care to admit. Our decisions are based on instinct and emotions rather than logic about 95% of the time. When we try to inject logic into things, we tend to just mess it up.
The decisions that we make from the limbic system part of our brain are made more quickly, easily, and have a higher quality than the decisions that we spend time trying to rationalize.
Simon Sinek’s Book “Start with Why” discusses how people are influenced in 2 different ways
Manipulation sounds like a really bad thing, but really it’s not all bad. Think of the spaghetti sauce decision. You were manipulated by price or a special deal. We are manipulated every day into making decisions whether we realize it or not.
The problem with manipulation is that it’s not exactly repeatable. You are always going to be offered new gimmicks to get you to buy the same thing.
Inspiration, on the other hand, makes a real impact on you. Inspiration carries you where manipulation could never dream to.
Simon Sinek dives into explaining inspiration by using Apple as the example.
When you see an iPhone or Macbook commercial, do they ever mention the specifications of the devices? They rarely talk about what makes their product good.
Their marketing team inspires you to purchase their product by showing you why they do things. They show young, happy, and connected people who are doing something inspiring whether it be dancing down the street or painting a beautiful picture.
Apple challenges the status quo. They make you believe that by buying their products, you are challenging the status quo as well. You will be dancing down the street with Airpods in your ears and not a care in the world!
The book “Start with Why” breaks down the bullseye above. Most of us think that decisions are made from the outside in.
- What – the products or services a company sells.
- A computer or phone.
- How – unique selling proposition, explains how something is different or better.
- Better camera and more processing speed.
- Call to action
- Want to buy one?
This is the logical way of thinking about it. You start with what you need, how it’s better than the alternatives, and finish by forking over your cash.
The emotional way is the complete opposite. Our instinctual way of making decisions start from the inside out.
- Why – We believe in challenging the status quo and thinking differently.
- How – We make our products simple to use and beautiful.
- What – We just happen to make computers and phones.
- Call to action – want to buy one?
By starting with why, the rest really doesn’t matter as much.
It’s cool to see this applied in business, but it’s even better when you apply it to your life.
It’s so easy to get stuck in the routine of life. Waking up and doing the same things every day without having passion or a reason for what you are doing can be mind numbing.
That’s why you need to understand what drives you.
What is your why?
There are 6 categories in your life that you should have a why for:
They are the pillars to your success and happiness. Each one is important to you for different reasons. I break them down in detail in this article.
Finding your why is critical to breaking through and becoming that kick ass person you were meant to be.
Once you understand exactly what drives you, the rest will just fall in line. It may even make you realize that you’ve been going down the wrong path for a very long time.
By now, you’ve probably reached a point in your life where you realize that you’re not the same as everyone around you. Your purpose in life is different than the people who surround you.
You have goals that reach beyond what the average person has. You want to be great. You’ve been busting your butt for years, but you don’t really know why.
Finding your why for each category is how you are going to take the next step.
You can download my personal whys and the template that I use to put them together by clicking here or signing up below.
I look at my whys every single day. When I miss a day, I notice that I don’t have the same passion throughout the day. I have to ask myself “what is my purpose?” I’m sure you’ve asked yourself what your purpose is as well.
Starting with why might be the single most important thing that you can do.
Take some time to develop your why for each category in life. Find your why and find your purpose. Pair those with a growth mindset and you will be in total control of your own destiny.
How to find your why
To dig down deep and understand your purpose for each category in life, you will have to ask yourself some hard questions. It may turn out that you have been going down the wrong path for some of the categories in your life for quite a while.
Don’t expect yourself to be an expert on finding your why if this is your first time hearing about it.
It’s hard. It will take time.
To use an age old cliche, it’s like peeling the layers of an onion. You will uncover new layers of yourself that you didn’t know were there.
You have to remember that some people spend their entire lives without knowing their why. Just understanding that there is something greater that is pushing you towards your goals is the kick in the pants that you need to keep moving forward on those days when you feel like just laying in bed and binge watching Netflix.
If you are looking for a little help in finding your whys, then use my template and when you’re filling it out, ask yourself the following questions for all 6 categories:
- What are my strengths?
- What are my weaknesses?
- Where (or with who) does my highest point of contribution lie?
- What makes me excited?
- How do I define success?
It’s very hard to really articulate why you do what you do, so don’t feel bad if this takes quite a bit of time to finish.
After asking yourself the questions above, you will summarize your why in one powerful sentence.
Your why statements should be:
- concise and simple to understand
- easy to take action on
- centered around how you are going to give value to others
- articulated in a way that makes total sense to you
Wrapping it up
Starting with why is critical to understanding yourself and why you do what you do. If you are interested in hearing more about why starting with why is so important, then consider reading (or listening to) Simon Sinek’s book “Start with Why” as it is extremely powerful and Simon articulates the reasoning behind starting with why in a way that makes sense to us.
After you understand your purpose and passion, you can use those to build goals for yourself and start to really make a difference in the lives of the people around you.
If you feel like you got any value out of this article, then please share it with the people around you who you think would get value from it as well!
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